Northampton woman who owned £300,000 house in London falsely claimed £65,000 in benefits

Crown Court GV
Crown Court GV

A woman who falsely claimed £65,000 in benefits after she failed to declare she owned a property in London has been given a suspended jail sentence.

Josephine Bulaya, aged 41, of West Cotton Close, Far Cotton, Northampton, claimed income support and employment support allowance for four and a half years, between October 2009 and February 2014, while she owned a house in Kennington, now worth £325,000.

Northampton Crown Court heard Bulaya, who previously worked in a bank, filled in benefit claim forms in which she failed to declare the fact she had £107,000 equity in the house in London.

Bulaya pleaded guilty to three charges of making a false statement to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP).

Rachel Law, defending, said her client had now agreed to sell the house and would be using the proceeds of the sale to pay back the money to the DWP.

His Honour Judge Timothy Smith said Bulaya had “effectively stolen £65,000 from people that were deserving of money from the state.”

Judge Smith sentenced Bulaya to 20 months in prison, suspended for a year. She must also complete 100 hours unpaid work and was given a nine-month curfew from 10pm to 6am.